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> 21.3.2009

  Hednesford Town (1) 2   FC United of Manchester  (0) 2    

Lewis 28, Dyer 75 (pen)

A. Carden 65, Garner 90 

> Attendance   1,077 Current Form  LLLWD
 > MotM Ross Draper

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Hednesford's hopes of a Play-Off place took a blow this afternoon, as visitors FC United of Manchester claimed a late, late point at Keys Park to leave the Pitmen a point, and a place, outside the top five. With Tyrone Barnett still suspended, manager Dean Edwards stuck with on-loan Matt Lewis up front, partnering Ross Dyer. There was still no place for Elliott Durrell, but there was a recall for defender Decio Gomes, who replaced Rapinder Gill. There was a new name on the team sheet, but a familiar face, as Ben Bailey's name was read out at number six. It later transpired that this was youngster Ben Harbutt, who had changed his surname by deed poll in the last few days

With three points an absolute must, the Pitmen started the game well, forcing United onto the backfoot in the first five minutes. An early flurry of corners tested the visitors' defence, with Ross Dyer having a good chance, heading towards goal from a Ross Draper corner, but Adam Tong was on hand to head away from goal as it looped towards the net

Buoyed by their win over Marine last week, coupled with a semi-final win in the Birmingham Senior Cup in midweek, the hosts enjoyed plenty of early possession, with Mark Briggs seeing plenty of the ball. At the other end, the tricky Carlos Roca was being well marshalled by the three Hednesford centre backs as he looked to play in FCUM new boy Phil Marsh on more than one occasion

Shortly before the half hour mark, the Pitmen snatched a valuable lead, with Lewis grabbing his second goal in a week. Draper, who was having a fine game in the centre of the park yet again, hit a shot that was deflected by a United defender into the path on the onrushing Maguire. Maguire's header found Lewis at the far post, who simply tapped home from close range

Back came United, with Roca an increasing influence on the game with his trickery and vision. Stuart Brock had to be alert to make a smart save from Marsh, but luck was very much with the Hednesford keeper a few moments later when he saved from Jamie Baguley, whose shot bounced up and hit Brock in the leg as he came out to narrow the angle. The ball sailed over the crossbar for a corner

Edwards' team talk must have been along the lines of 'same again please', as the Pitmen had enjoyed the best chances of the first half. Indeed, they started the second half well, with Dyer streaking away from the United defence within ten minutes of the restart, but hitting his firm shot straight at United keeper Sam Ashton

Whilst it stayed at one-nil, you always felt that United could get back into the game, especially as they were becoming more of a threat from set-pieces. Just after the hour mark, they snatched a lifeline, although it was presented to them more than their own work. A free kick from the United right looked to have been cleared by the Hednesford defence, with the ball dropping to Anthony Maguire to clear. Rather than hack the ball away, the right-back headed the ball back into the danger area, allowing Adam Carden to force the ball past Brock from a couple of yards out

Despite having a number of attacking options on the bench, Edwards decided against an immediate change to the side, with Lewis sending a deep cross over that Dyer could not turn home

United sensed a winner after grabbing an equaliser, and Brock saved well down by his post to deny Marsh a goalscoring opportunity after Roca had turned the ball goalwards

On came Durrell, with Briggs withdrawn to allow the little forward a chance to turn the game in Hednesford's favour. Within two minutes, the Pitmen had their reward. Lewis turned in the area and appeared to be tripped by a United defender. On first viewing, Lewis seemed to go down very easily, and indeed the referee did not give the penalty initially. But after consulting with his assistant on the Wimblebury side, he gave the post kick. Dyer stepped up and confidently fired the ball into the roof of the net to put the home side back in front

Dyer almost added to his tally five minutes later, skipping away from the United defence after being played in by Decio Gomes' incisive ball, but again found Ashton equal to his shot

That elusive third goal was to prove the Pitmen's downfall, as United piled the pressure on in the final ten minutes. with the home side hanging on to their lead. With Gomes looking dominant at the back, the Pitmen looked to have seen the game through, until the away side grabbed a late, late goal. Draper was adjudged to have fouled Roca out on the left ahd edge of the Hednesford penalty area. Simon Garner placed the ball down, before bending the ball past Brock and into the far corner of the net, via a slight deflection off the hapless Maguire

A real feeling of two points lost here today, with Hednesford good enough to have earned their win, but United's persistence matching their hosts all the way to the end. With a point doing neither for both sides' promotion push, a win in the next game at Guiseley is now critical if the Pitmen are to avoid another season of 'what could have been'  cds

Guiseley (A)

28.3.2009
Team Mins On   On/Off For   Goals Top Scorer Barnett (20)
.1 Stuart Brock 90 .. .. .
.2 Anthony Maguire 90

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UniBond Premier League 21.3.2009
.3 Tom Marshall 90

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. Top Half
.4 Decio Gomes 90

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.. Pos Team Played Points
.5 Danny Harvey 90

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. 1st Eastwood Town 34 73
.6 Ben Bailey 90

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2nd Nantwich Town 33 64
.7 Mark Briggs 73

Durrell

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3rd Ilkeston Town 31 63
.8 Sam Hall 90

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4th Bradford P A 35 62
.9 Matt Lewis 90

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5th Kendal Town 34 58
.10 Ross Dyer 90

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6th HEDNESFORD 34 57
.11 Ross Draper 90

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7th FC Utd of M'ster 35 55
Substitutes

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8th Guiseley 33 54
.12 Rapinder Gill

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. 9th Ashton United 35 54
.14 Elliott Durrell 17

Briggs

. 10th North Ferriby 34 52

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Luke Edwards 0

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Sean Platt 0 . .
.17 Duane Darby 0

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Action from Keys Park: 1. Mark Briggs fights for the ball   2. Goal! Ross Dyer confidently dispatches his penalty to give the Pitmen the lead   3. Skipper Ross Draper leads the celebrations after Dyer's spot kick

 

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